From hors d'oeuvres to the right kinds of chips, a successful party needs tasty food. It doesn't have to be over the top--unless you're holding a sit-down dinner party-- but make sure that whatever bite-size snacks you serve are bursting with flavour. Also make sure you have plenty of food--this will keep your guests from drinking too much, too fast.
A bad party is the kind that runs out of drinks. So make sure you have enough cocktails on hand--no one wants to make a beer run once the party gets started. A fun idea to avoid empty drinks is to create a mini drink menu for your guests--you can print it on cute notecards and "hire" one of your friends [who's willing] to be the "bartender." Or if you're throwing a large bash, you can always hire a real bartender for the evening.
This goes without saying--if you have great friends, your party will be a success. A successful cocktail party must have good conversation, lots of laughs and fun mingling scenarios. So make sure to send invites to the right people!
Make sure your guests leave the drama at home. If you have a drama-seeking friend [e.g., that sloppy girl who drinks too much and makes a fool of herself or the person who never lets you get a word in, all the while talking about everything they dislike], then don't invite him or her. Invite people who will vibe well together and who will make the party conversations fun and interesting.
Set the mood for your party with the right decor and music. Throwing a bunch of people into a silent room and hoping for the best is a terrible idea, not to mention awkward. So start with a playlist of good tunes to set the mood. Also make sure to be on top of introductions--suggest what your guests may have in common or how you know them. This will help get them talking while you tend to other guests, food, drinks, etc.
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